AUGUSTA, Maine — Key cogs in Gov. Paul LePage’s network — including his top political adviser and his daughter — will work for businessman Shawn Moody’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign, which could give the new Republican quick credibility on the right.

Republican strategist Brent Littlefield and Lauren LePage, a lawyer and the governor’s daughter, will work for the campaign, according to a Thursday release teasing a Tuesday announcement of an event at the Gorham headquarters of Moody’s Collision Centers.

Moody, 58, of Gorham, founded that chain when he was 17 years old and has no political experience other than his 2010 run for governor, when he finished a distant fourth place running as a “regular guy” independent in the race that Paul LePage won.

The governor later named Moody to the boards of trustees for the University of Maine system and the Maine community college system. While Paul LePage hasn’t endorsed Moody, the involvement of his key allies may be seen by many as a tacit endorsement.

Moody will be the fifth Republican in the race, though he only joined the party in October — the same day that he told reporters to expect a launch around Thanksgiving. During his 2010 run, his answers on policy were often vague and he’ll have much to prove to the Republican base.

Other Paul LePage allies will be working for Moody, including Sean Ingram, a senior policy adviser to the governor and Michael Hersey, who has served in the LePage administration and in political roles. Former Maine House Minority Leader Joe Bruno, the CEO of Community Pharmacies, will be Moody’s treasurer.

Littlefield ran the governor’s successful 2010 and 2014 campaigns and advises U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District. Lauren LePage worked in her father’s office before graduating from the University of Maine School of Law and joining an Augusta lobbying shop.

Former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew of South China and Maine House Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport could be seen as the other two candidates fighting most over LePage’s base.

The other two candidates — Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls — led their chamber through the messy 2017 budget battle that resulted in a state shutdown and may be stronger among social conservatives.

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Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...